Claude Hopkins (or ‘To not know your history is to remain a child forever’)


Horribly misquoted from the great man’s seminal text, but it makes the point.

Advertising seems to be the only industry where history is ignored – for example, way before Second Life, HHCL were pioneering online technology. Yet there is a massive fuss made that time round.

Garland Compton, CDP, BMP.. these are agencies which have irrevocably shaped how we see advertising today. And we try and deny it, constantly moving on and ignoring some of the lessons of the past.

I think it’s fair to see that as advertising is, to a certain extent, like an extended magic trick (got to amaze and show ’em something they’ve not seen before), it predicates this problem of forgetting what you were.

Indeed, as certain clients seem to have a circular model of not really passing knowledge down (I wonder how many of my readers have heard ‘ah, Aroma! That’s what the modern x is after these days’ from a few generations of the same client), it doesn’t help either.

Well, sod it. I think if we knew our history, we could be proud of our heritage, and what advertising has done for modern culture.

So in this spirit (and you may already have this), I give you Claude Hopkins’ seminal text ‘Scientific Advertising’. Yes, it predates David Ogilvy; real ‘old skool’ advertising thinking.

It’s in the sidebar, but if you can’t be arsed to click on it, go here. Yes, you have to sign up. But you should.

Here endeth my history lesson (and God – read E H Carr’s book.. well worth it)

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